How often have you listened as someone rationalized his or her mishandling of a problem by externalizing its source: “I can’t meet my projections because . . .,” “My territory isn’t large enough,” or “Our prices are too high”? Closer scrutiny almost always reveals the source of the problem to be internal, stemming from the salesperson’s concept of self – specifically, a state of mind that prevents him or her from trying to break through his/her “success barrier.” This state of mind is their “comfort zone.”
When people enter a new profession, coming from one that may have placed limitations on their progress, they tend to show a dramatic increase in productivity which may appear infinitely sustainable. It’s easy to see this as proof that their capabilities were being thwarted. However, in many cases, this is a false signal, and the increase can’t sustain itself. More than likely, these individuals are merely catching up after being smothered in their previous jobs. Their potential ends up being much less potent than it appears at first glance. They sprint, but can’t go the distance.
The second stage for these salespeople looks like a leveling-off period. They are now entering their comfort zones. Instead of energizing themselves, catching their breath, and pushing forward to higher levels – both internally and externally – they slow down and lose momentum.
During the third and, more often than not, final stage, progress slows as they become immobilized by their comfort.
All of us have a comfort zone. That is not the problem. The problem is failure to recognize when we are reaching this third level, combined with not knowing what to do about it. The issue is, will we reach down for that extra push needed to propel us up and out of our zones? How can we do that?
When faced with a roadblock, don’t opt to change course and try to avoid it. Instead, push through to higher levels while working continually on your personal and professional growth.
Institute a visualization program to help you see your progress on a daily basis. Be aware that, in your comfort zone, things won’t look very bad at all, so you will become complacent and de-motivated, which begins the downward spiral.
Ask yourself, are you committed to reaching the highest levels of your potential? Remember that each time you break through to a higher level of achievement, you automatically carry with you a new comfort zone that must be left behind as you progress even further.
Look at your comfort zone as a barrier to success, but also as a motivator – because breaking through your success barrier to higher and higher levels will bring with it the exhilaration of accomplishment. Go for it!
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Based on The President’s Club Professional Development Program, ©2000 Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.